Upcoming 600MHz spectrum auction could produce big wins for T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T
You are going to see more money thrown at air than the huge bucks paid to the best free-agents in sports. T-Mobile and AT&T are believed to have budgeted in the range of $8 to $10 billion for the auction. And most of the spectrum being auctioned off is high quality (97% says the FCC) which means that 99% of the airwaves in that category won't carry interference. According to BTIG Research, only Cleveland and Toledo will be offering lower quality category 2 spectrum.
Brokerage house UBS says that the higher than expected clearing target could be good news for T-Mobile and Comcast. The figure indicates that the FCC expects a lot of television broadcasters will be giving up their low-frequency spectrum. UBS cites T-Mobile's lack of low frequency spectrum, which it is using for its Extended Range LTE coverage, for its decision to bid heavily. UBS believes that Comcast might want to add its own spectrum to go alongside the MVNO it is starting using Verizon's network.
The reverse auction starts on the last day of this month, May 31st, and will last about two months. Once that ends, the forward auction immediately begins. That should end by the Fall. Of course, everything gets moved up if the clearing target isn't met the first time around. That would require a second stage of the reverse auction. Considering the high target of 126MHz, that is a distinct possibility.
Low-frequency spectrum is in demand because it can travel farther and penetrate buildings better.